U-M May Combine Agriculture, Biological Sciences Colleges

Talks have been going on for some time to merge the two colleges.

Published on: Sep 6, 2013

University of Minnesota officials announced this week that they will appoint a task force that will examine the potential creation of a new college for the U-M Twin Cities.

The college would integrate faculty and staff from the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the College of Biological Sciences.

The retirement announcement from CBS Dean Robert Elde, along with Allen Levine's decision to step down as the dean of CFANS in June, and the appointment of Brian Buhr as interim dean, helped solidify the university's decision. Reportedly, the merger had been under discussion for some time by both Elde and Levine. Plus, the two colleges already have a number of cross-appointments and working alliances.

U-M May Combine Agriculture, Biological Sciences Colleges
U-M May Combine Agriculture, Biological Sciences Colleges

The appointment of a task force and the announcement of a process for seeking broad stakeholder input are expected in the coming weeks.

Buhr said that the exploration of closer alignment between the two colleges is consistent with "the synergy that already exists between the two colleges and the changing needs of stakeholders in agriculture and industry. Consideration of a new consolidated structure will position us more strongly to advance research and outreach to stakeholders and communities across the state and globally."

The consideration of a new college, a process supported by U President Eric Kaler, will be one of many conversations that will unfold in tandem with the broader strategic planning process on the Twin Cities campus. These efforts will help position the University of Minnesota for the future and advance the U's academic mission.

"The explosion of biological knowledge in the era of genomics has led to unprecedented opportunities," Elde said. "The enhanced collaboration between CFANS and CBS in a new college could strengthen the impact and excellence of our research, and better prepare students to translate basic knowledge into applied solutions to pressing problems in agriculture, environmental sciences, and medicine, among other areas."